For my last year I was required to write a 6000 word report on Project and Event Management, and my subject was, of course, GAMIFICATION!
So thank you everyone that replied to my survey!
I could’t have done it without you guys!
And thanks also to Dr Katie Piatt, that inspired me to write this paper and also helped me make a case study of FOTE 2012!
I’m not going to bore you to death by posting EVERYTHING I’ve written here, but I’ll try to give a little taste of what was achieved.
I hope you enjoy!
Gamification in Events
As we already saw on the previous post,
gamification is the act of applying game aspects to non-game scenarios, and it can be done in a number of ways.
A new trend has been adding gamified aspects to events such as conferences and seminars.
These can appear in different shapes, from points awarded for visiting certain parts of the conference, to quiz competitions on keynote topics. Events’ characteristic of gathering a group of people for a short period of time in order to connect, learn, and have fun, makes them an excellent environment for gamification.
By making use of game mechanics, event managers can apply exciting and rewarding elements of games to events; driving active participation and engagement from attendees.
It is important to notice that the aim is not to transform the event in a game;
the main objective is to make use of game tools to effectively increase attendee, staff, exhibitors, vendors, and sponsors engagement to create more fulfilling events.
Event managers must first clearly recognize the event’s aims and objectives, the target audience, and the audience’s needs and expectations.
This way, they can focus the gamified activity into motivating rewards and gather positive results for the event.
A new technology that has been taking over events is the use of event apps to all sorts of purposes from schedules to easily exchange of contacts between participants.
These apps can also allow for gamification to be implemented to the event, awarding points to participants that check in in different areas and interact with the app in different ways.
The 5th Future of Technology in Education (FOTE) conference happened on the 5th of October 2012 at the Senate House in London.
The conference discusses upcoming technological trends in teaching and learning (FOTE, 2012).
The event’s focus on technology posed an excellent opportunity for implementing gamification, as it’s an excellent way to encourage learning (Piatt, 2012).
Keynote speakers were asked to include a picture of a potato somewhere in their slides; spotting the potato, taking a picture, and sharing it on tweeter using the hashtag, also awarded points.
To add to the depth of the game, physical potatoes were hidden throughout the conference; finding one awarded five points to the participant who found it and deducted five points from the participant on the top of the leaderboard.
The visibility of the leaderboard encouraged networking as gave people something to talk about; and at the same time helped bring awareness to what was happening. One of the benefits of implementing gamification to the event was “a real buzz around the event that something different was happening”.
Even those who chose not to participate in the game interacted due to the hype created by the innovation.
The game also created a more relaxed atmosphere, as people knew something fun and educational was happening.
The reasons for participants playing the game were for the fun and simply “because they could”.
Adding gamification to events adds an innovative element that reflects well in the event even for those not participating.
This use of innovative activities can potentially increase the number of attendees at future events. Another example of gamification in a training and development activity can be found on my previous post “Gamification”.
So, what are the results of the survey?
Do people like gamification or not?
The majority of people who answered the survey played games, with
26% reporting not playing games in the last seven days.
29% of people that answered played between 1 and 3 hours in the last seven days, and
21% played over 10 hours in the past seven days.
This means that the majority of people that do play games play very little or very much, with fewer people playing ‘in between’ times. The reasons for playing varied, but most people replied that they do it to have fun or pass the time.
When asked if conferences could benefit from gamification,
77% said yes and 73% said they would take part is such activities.
Some expressed the opinion that such activities should be aimed at those who are motivated this way, or aimed at those that would not be engaged by conferences without that fun aspect.
When comparing the answers of people who did and did not play games, the ages varied, with
35 to 44 years old playing at least one hour in the previous week.
Most players over 45 didn’t play and the
younger respondents were divided between playing and not playing. Girls played less than boys.=( Also, for those that play more, one of the reasons for playing games was the fact they could test themselves and gain achievements.
People that played games were the only ones to feel they were not fully engaged at conferences, at the same time, they also were the ones that engaged the most.
People against gamification being used in events did so saying that events should be interesting on their own and should not need such gimmicks in order to draw engagement.
Someone also added that gamification techniques would go against the objectives of the event as participants want to be informed and not entertained. Who said they would not participate in gamified activities, said that such activities could be a distraction; or that the gains of participating in the event are greater than the mere amusement of rewards and games.
One person that stated playing over 10 hours of games in the last seven days, said they only played games alone of with close friends.
It is important to notice, however, that this survey was very limited, and that the conclusions taken from it may not reflect the true opinions of people that attend conferences.
I suggest that individual conferences run their own surveys looking for what their attendants want so they can better serve their needs.
Gamification does work, but it has to be implemented with caution.
Just adding gimmicks to conferences and events will not add value, just costs…
You can find the full report here!
I hope it wasn’t too tedious and that you will share the idea of using gamification!